Getting your wisdom teeth out? Watch for “dry socket” afterwards

dry socket - wisdom tooth removal

When you have a wisdom tooth removed, the ache should quickly recede from memory. But some people develop a painful complication called dry socket.

Allowing the wound to heal undisturbed can help prevent dry socket, said Dr. Michael Ellis, an associate professor with Texas A&M College of Dentistry.

When a tooth is removed, a blood clot forms and fills the empty space for a few days. This helps protect the tooth socket as it heals, Ellis said.

Pain associate with dry socket

If this clot is dislodged too soon, the bone and nerve can become dry and exposed, he explained.

“The blood clot is there to protect the wound,” Ellis said in a university news release. “If the clot is broken down prematurely, then the bone is exposed and the area becomes a ‘dry socket.’ “

When someone has a dry socket, the first thing they’ll notice is pain. “The exposed bone is sensitive, and that is the source of pain, which can be dull or throbbing and even radiate up to the patient’s ear,” he said. “The pain can last anywhere from a few days to a week.”

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